Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I walk to the Louvre under gray skies on a very brisk morning. The walk is pleasant though as it gives me a chance to see a side of Paris visitors rarely get to see. The streets are nearly empty and there is little traffic. It is peaceful and quiet, a rarity in a normal busy city.
Our group meets under I.M. Pei’s magnificent pyramid. I find that several of the people I was with on last years tour of the British Museum have join this one and so I have some familiar faces in addition to the new ones. I am a bit dismayed to discover that I am easily the youngest person present.
We will spend the first day of our tour in the Grande Gallerie, studying the evolution of European painting from Byzantine thru the Renaissance to the Baroque. There are no sightings of Dan Brown or Tom Hanks. Whew!
This part of the museum has always been very difficult for me due to the heavy concentration of works with a biblical theme and today is no different. Dr. Hunt does a great job showing the evolution of styles, from the flat, two-dimensional work of early Christian themes to three-dimensional themes with landscaping, perspective and real people. Still, the limited thematic arc of the Crucifixion and Trinity makes me want to scream, as does the idea that Jesus and Mary were ethically from Scandinavia and not Palestine.

About the photos:
1. The death of Cleopatra reimagined. Is the snake biting her or suckling her?
2. A playful cat.
3. The chaos around the Mona Lisa.
4. Cupid about to ensnare Paris and Helen.
5. Grandfather with Grandson. One of the first pictures to break from the tradition of Christian themes and use perspective and distance in the background.

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